Kelsei Schmidt

My family has been members of the YMCA of Harrison County off and on since 2007. I’d come and workout occasionally, attend a Yoga class here and there, or swim on a hot day. The people there were always friendly, but I never really utilized the programs at the Y or took advantage of all the benefits.

Then, in mid-December 2012, the Y saved my life when I found out about its pre-school program. I was in college with two weeks left in the semester when I found out that I’d lost my child care. There was nowhere else to take my daughter, Salem for care so I was forced to drop out of classes the week before finals.

I thought my academic career was over, or at least postponed significantly because I couldn’t find any child care enrolling new children. Then, right before Christmas, a friend told me about the Y’s pre-school program and that she knew one of the teachers and it was a really good program. So, I looked into it and knew immediately it was the right place for my daughter, Salem.

After I enrolled my daughter for the upcoming semester at the Y, I enrolled myself into classes for the spring semester at college. Salem quickly fell in love with the people at the Y and her classmates. She’d cry on the weekends because there was no class and had to wait for Monday. She loved al the volunteers in the after school care program and was often reluctant to leave.

In the summer, in order to make up the semester I had to repeat, I enrolled her into their Summer Day Camp program as well. They did so many fun things at camp, went on field trips, played games, and helped teach Salem how to socialize with children of all ages, and behave with honesty and respect.

She had the best possible teacher who was incredibly patient and refused to give up on her. Salem is a bit of a handful, but her teacher had faith in her and stuck with her to the end. All the people who have worked with the youth programs have been nothing but kind and loving toward my daughter, in spite f her mischievousness and often times taxing nature.

When Salem began Kindergarten this year, I explained to her that she wouldn’t be going to school at the Y anymore and she had a fit! She was so mad, she didn’t want to go to Kindergarten if it wasn’t at the Y. So I told her that if she wanted to, she could still go to the after school care program and see all of her friends. After that, she was excited to start her new school and happy she could still go to the Y every day.

When Donna Schulze took over as head of the youth programs, I was very impressed at how smooth the transition went. Donna jumped right in with both feet and a huge smile on her face! She always has time to listen to any concerns you may have as a parent. She takes time to get to know the kids and their parents, and is an active part of the programs. She has always treated me with kindness and respect and I believe she takes genuine joy in her work.

So that’s the story of how the Y has affected my family. Because of the Y, I was able to graduate from college on time, with honors, and know that my child was getting a great education and excellent care. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Donna, Kaity, Ashleigh, J.D., Gabe, Austin, Catherine and everyone else that has had such a positive and loving influence on my daughter. Thank you for helping my family when we needed it the most.